Racer X

Live Extreme, Vol. 1

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Extreme Volume is as much a reference to Racer X's ability to pack as many notes as possible into a given measure as it is to the loudness of their concerts. Racer X took all the excesses of '80s heavy metal and pushed them to the point of parody. That said, this live document of the Los Angeles quintet's jaw-dropping instrumental virtuosity is absolutely essential to any fan of the "shred guitar" subgenre of '80s heavy metal. Hearing the band execute this material live is quite an experience. Each song is packed with evidence of this band's sheer technical velocity; the dual-guitar harmony solos by Paul Gilbert and Bruce Bouillet (played at top speed) are a must-hear, and the octave-busting vocal harmonies are wonderfully over the top, as well. And, as one might expect, each member gets his own solo spot. The album also has three previously unreleased tracks, "She Wants Control," "Set the World on Fire," and the instrumental "Scit Scat Wah," to recommend it.

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